Carter, a 6-foot-8 junior, scored 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds to lead the No. 2-ranked Knights to a 65-43 win over No. 4 Manchester in the Class AA championship Friday at the Macon Coliseum.
Carter showed why has a bag full of college offers, including Duke, Georgia, Auburn and Texas A&M. He was 10-for-11 from the field, including 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, and 7-for-10 from the line. He also had three blocks, two assists and one steal
Pace Academy (20-10) also got 16 points from Barrett Baker, who made three 3-pointers.
Manchester (25-6) was led by Demarcus Addie, who had 14 points and five rebounds before fouling out.
“Somebody asked me if I’d rather go 0-for-whatever and win or score 40 and lose and I said go 0-for-whatever and win and that’s exactly what happened,” Pace Academy senior Zach Kaminsky said. “I had a bad game, shot the ball poorly (1-for-10, two points) but we had people step up all over the floor.”
Pace Academy took its lumps early in the season against some high-powered competition. The Knights wobbled to a 2-8 start, but got their footing once the football players – who also won the state championship – were able to return.
“It’s incredible,” Kaminsky said. “We started off the season 2-8, the football players came in and got used to playing with us and helped us win a state championship.”
But losses against the likes of Greenforest, a finalist in Class A Private, and Westlake, a Class AAAAAA finalist, proved to toughen up the Knights and get them ready for the state playoffs.
Pace quickly led 12-0 on a pair of 3-pointers by Baker and consecutive three-point pays by Carter and Baker. After Manchester scored, Carter hit a long 3-pointer to make it 15-2. It never got much better for the Blue Devils and Pace led 21-8 after the first quarter.
“That start was so important,” Kaminsky said. “We’ve been getting off to great starts in all our games and we brought a lot of energy and never looked back.”
Every time Manchester made a push, Pace Academy had an answer. The relentless Blue Devils twice got to within nine points, but each time Pace had a response and Manchester could never get any closer.
Manchester (43): Jah'Nile Hill, Cardarian Brown 3, Demarcus Addie 14, Travion Sullivan 6, Jerquavion Mahone 6, Jalen Leonard 5, Marquavious Jackson, Deenizeo Gamble, Jontavious Ferguson, Raeshawn Walton, Bobby Stevenson 6, Garrett Brown 6.
Pace Academy (65): Barrett Baker 16, Mark Sommerville 2, Zach Kaminsky 4, Wendell Carter Jr. 30, Isaiah Kelly 9, Gunnor Faulk, Deon Jackson, Michael Simon 2, Harrison Lewis, Mick Assaf, Parker Payne, Jonathan Rushton, Jordan Harris 2, Kyle Orr, Sebastian Bradley.
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